Belldegrun's VC firm nabs a major $825M funding well for next-gen biotechs

After an illustrious career in biotech, including navigating Kite Pharma and then Allogene to become major players in the cell therapy space, Arie Belldegrun, M.D., and his new venture firm are looking to make a series of bets on the next big thing in biotech.

Belldegrun’s third fund for Vida Venture, Vida III, has reeled in a massive $825 million, giving it a total of $1.7 billion under management from across all three funds.

Specifics of where this money will be funneled were not revealed, though in a statement it said the team is “focused on identifying ground-breaking science and innovative company building that lead to new areas of drug discovery and development.”

Former funds have in recent months backed the likes of Tectonic Therapeutic, which is working on GPCR drug discovery; next-gen cancer biotech Kinnate; and T-cell cancer player Neogene.

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Despite the ongoing pandemic, the tap for life science funding appears to be fully open; in fact, since the first says of the outbreak in early 2020, biotechs in particular have enjoyed major funding drives, with VC firms also reeling in hundreds of millions of dollars and even more than $1 billion in several instances.

The pandemic has not only not slowed this down, it's likely responsible for it; the world has seen how invaluable health and keeping back infectious disease are to the global economy, lending private investors and those looking to go public greater impetus to fuel new innovations in biology.

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“As investors, company builders and life science supporters, each one of us at Vida is driven by the opportunity to unlock the power of science. From our formation to today with the close of Vida III, the goal is to do our part in converting dreams into groundbreaking therapies for patients,” said Belldegrun.

“We are grateful to our existing investors who have continued to support us and to those new investors who are partnering with us on the next phase of our journey.

“Over the last three years, our proven approach to life sciences investing brings together a network of industry experts alongside a powerful investor base undaunted by inherent challenges in drug development, to fundamentally change the course of human disease.”